Pompey: Promotion race set to intensify

Ricky Holmes in action for Northampton against Oxford on Tuesday night Picture: Kirsty Edmonds

Ricky Holmes in action for Northampton against Oxford on Tuesday night Picture: Kirsty Edmonds

League two -  Portsmouth FC are crowned as Champions at Southsea common after winning Sky Bet League Two yesterday - 07/05/17 -
Portsmouth�"s Ben Close PPP-170805-144905001

Spotlight on Pompey’s young guns

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This weekend’s League Two fixtures could prove pivotal to Pompey’s promotion hopes.

A win against lowly Yeovil on Saturday will give Paul Cook’s men a second straight success and the belief they can mount a serious push for automatic promotion.

It is the games involving sides above the Blues, however, which are of equal significance and interest to the Fratton faithful.

That’s after four of the five sides sixth-placed Pompey are giving chase to were paired together by the powers that be at the Football League.

League leaders Northampton (on 67 points) equalled a 56-year club record to move eight points clear at the summit, following Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over third-placed Oxford (55).

An eighth successive league win sees them head into battle with fifth-placed Wycombe (49) as hot favourites to be crowned champions – an opinion bizarrely shared by US basketball star Shaquille O’Neal!

Pompey (48), who are 19 points behind the Cobblers, albeit with a game in hand, will be hoping former player Ricky Holmes can do them a favour and net another victory over the Chairboys.

Gareth Ainsworth’s side sit one place and one point above the Blues but have played a game more.

The real team to catch, though, remains Oxford – four points adrift of second-placed Plymouth (59) who travel to Crawley – who currently occupy the final automatic promotion place.

Their defeat in midweek has opened the door for Cook’s men to close the gap to four points, provided they are able to win their game in hand on them.

Pompey, though, will also have one eye on United’s opponents – Accrington Stanley (49) who sit in fourth spot.

Accy are one point ahead of the Blues with a game in hand so a draw between two key promotion rivals would be the best possible outcome for the Fratton faithful.

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In a nutshell, Saturday promises to be an intriguing day for all concerned in League Two’s promotion race.

But for Pompey, results elsewhere will be largely irrelevant if they fail to perform at Huish Park.

– JEFF MARSHMAN

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